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Step Two: ?; Step Three: Profit
Topic Started: Apr 17 2013, 04:25 AM (1,585 Views)
Lord_Shadow
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((Kyle Williams continued from Star Spangled Banner))

Kyle was officially done with it all. Let the chaff burn, let the lost causes fumble about. He would save no others. Let them save themselves. The only thing that mattered now was living to the end. Then he would spit in the face of this godforsaken pointless exercise. Burden not his mind with anything less.

Easier said than done. Truth be told, he couldn't stop thinking that he would falter. If anyone cried for help, if a murderer attacked again, if he lost another friend, what could he do but watch helplessly? He traced his path back into the clearing. No longer a dangerzone, now it was one of the few places he could call memorable. And safe.

The announcements had come on sometime during the trek back. He ignored them. Adams was not going to get under his skin any longer. He only acknowledged the fact that Maxim and Amanda were now dead. Two more he could not save.

He didn't grieve.

He couldn't grieve.

"Without a plan, we're just wasting time. We need to figure out how to find Louisa and stay alive. If worse comes to worse, we have to prepared to neutralize threats as well." Neutralize, not kill. Never kill. It's just what they want.

He sighed and stared at the sky. He was spent and he knew it. But still life demanded more of him. Someone would have to repay the debt incurred for his services sometime soon.
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((Jasmine Stone continued from What's Left of Your Soul))

Jasmine's time in the town had reinvigorated her and made her more determined to find Ashley. Her journey had started off strong and she'd managed to keep herself focused on the task and ensured that she didn't fall back into her guilt over Aaron's death. Her new focus had been good for her and she was dealing well with being on her own. Granted finding was going to be like finding a needle haystack but she wasn't giving up hope, she was going to find her best friend. She had managed to keep her spirits up as she walked by singing to herself and humming the tunes of the songs they played in their band. She had even managed to fool herself into forgetting that she was in the Program once or twice. She had crashed back to reality quickly both times but it had been nice to get lost in her daydreams.

That had all come crashing down when the announcement happened. It taken Jasmine out of her stride completely and while Jasmine always expected the worst from the announcements but this time the worst actually happened.

She wasn't ready for it.

Steph had drowned herself.

Jasmine just stood frozen not hearing the rest of the announcement. It just became white noise to her. It didn't matter about the rest of the names or their killers. Jasmine thought back to when she had seen Steph for the first and last time. Recalling some of the things Steph had said and the way she had said them it started to make sense to Jasmine, Steph had always been planning to kill herself since before Jasmine had seen her. She'd given clues away in her speech and Jasmine hadn't picked up on any of it. She had just let her walk away. She had let Stephanie walk away.

Remembering she had to find Ashley Jasmine started to walk forward again but she was numb to the world. She had failed to prevent two deaths, Steph's and Aaron's. One of those deaths was the suicide of a friend she had known since she had entered Patriot High. Jasmine just kept walking, her mind weighed down by thoughts of how she could have stopped Steph, changed her mind somehow. The thoughts did nothing but torment her.

She felt tears start to form as she continued to walk she wiped them away and picked up her speed. She had to find Ashley; it was becoming more urgent every time there was an announcement. The tears were returning and again Jasmine wiped them away and sped up. She was entering an area of pine trees, just like the one where she had lost Ashley originally, where all the problems had started and proceeded to pile on top of one another. Nothing had gone right for Jasmine since then. She had met Steph and...

Jasmine started to run. She wasn't sure why or if she needed a reason. She couldn't remember the last time she had even run; probably for some pointless school sports day. Jasmine didn't know why she had started running, maybe she was using it as some kind of release; a way of venting.

Next thing Jasmine knew she had burst through the treeline and into the clearing. She had been in the clearing once before with Aaron. It was where they had started their search for Ashley. Ashley wasn't the other person in the clearing though. Instead it was Kyle Williams. She recognised the scar. Jasmine searched for something to say but couldn't find anything. Instead she just stood there looking at him wondering if he was friendly or not.
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The lack of reply clued Kyle in to the fact that his companion had not yet arrived. Wonderful. He mentally cursed his life yet again. So much for an easy planning session. Just then, someone broke the treeline.

In front of him.

"Son of a bitch." He muttered. He tried to place this girl's face to a name. It was getting more difficult to remember who was who here. Was she a participant? She didn't look the part. Then again, neither did most of the murderers.

He knew he was going to get himself killed if he kept doing this, but he hazarded a talk.

"Neutral. I'm not going to hurt you unless you prove yourself a threat. And, if it's all the same to you..." He sighed. "I suggest you keep your distance, and be on your way. I'm not the best at keeping track of people."

"They tend to die on me. Or end up killing so I don't have to."

He eyed this girl with a heavy look of apathy on his face. He just didn't have time to deal with someone new. And he didn't want to. But here she was and so was he.

Honestly things would be best if she just went away and... died. He caught himself thinking that. Was he become too desensitized? Probably. That was something he didn't want. He still needed to stay human after all.

"Or whatever. Tag along I guess. God knows everyone else has." He reached into his pocket and put his lensless glasses back on. He needed them now. They would help him stay aloof enough without being heartless.

God, he was such a hypocritical loser. Apathy was more than death. Apathy was hell.
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((Carlyle Shotton continued from Star Spangled Banner))

He’d fallen behind again. It was almost becoming an art form. Yet again it had been in the forest. Carlyle had been sticking close to Kyle right up the forest, not wanting to split up from what was his only ally at the current time. But it seemed he hadn’t learnt his lesson from last time, and somehow, sometime, he’d wandered slightly distant from Kyle. Carlyle had managed to laugh at himself as soon as he realised they’d been split up. At least he still had that left of his old self. That was something he could cling onto.

Over the time it had taken to walk through the forest, however, that slight good feeling had evaporated. Carlyle’s thoughts had drifted to the rifle in his right hand. Part of him, a huge part of him, wanted to get rid of it once and for all. Wanted to fire all the pellets into the dirt, cast the gun itself into the lake. Get rid of it for him and for anyone else. With it he had killed Gwen, and with it he had been on the brink of killing Damien.

On the other hand, he couldn’t escape the thoughts that told him he had to keep it with him. It was all well and good saying he’d never shoot to kill again. But when it came down to it, he was the most important person to himself. And if he was being attacked, and there was no other choice, he’d need the rifle. And the pitchfork in his left hand. Self defence for certain was more important than the possibility of harming his classmates.

Somehow Carlyle had found his way to the clearing in the middle-ish of the forest. He guessed having been there not too long ago meant it was vaguely imprinted in his memory. To Carlyle’s great relief, Kyle was there. He seemed to be talking to somebody else, obscured by Kyle’s own body. Carlyle tried to lightly jog towards the two. Even with his above-average strength, it was still a chore to do so. Staying out in the wilderness with minimal food and shelter had definitely taken it’s toll.

“Yo, Kyle! I’m here, man. Sorry ‘bout that. Wasn’t payin’ attention, I guess...” Carlyle greeted Kyle, glad to hear he still held his usual style of speech, even after everything that had happened. Upon closer inspection, Carlyle recognised the girl Kyle had been speaking to, although then again, he recognised most of his classmates. Jasmine something or other. The name seemed to ring a bell. He felt certain he’d heard it in the past day or s-Amanda. Jasmine had been one of the people Amanda had been looking for, he was sure of it. They had found her, it seemed. Still, it felt hollow. A pyrrhic victory. They hadn’t found Louisa, and Amanda wasn’t alive to see her friend safe.

“Hey Jasmine.” Carlyle said, trying to muster up a little enthusiasm, as he had with Kyle. “Am-Uh... We’ve been looking for you. Right, Kyle?” Carlyle was glad he’d swiftly corrected that mistake. Jasmine probably already knew about Amanda. It had been on the announcements. But it didn’t sound right, or tactful mentioning her in that way. Better to wait for another opportunity to arise.
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Luckily for Jasmine the first thing Kyle said was that he wasn't going to hurt her. It didn't calm her down but it made her feel better about the situation, at least she wasn't going to get attacked by him. The illusion of safety was immediately dispelled when he advised her to keep her distance from him. The way he said he wasn't good at keeping track of people implied something more but Jasmine knew enough about the Program to make the connections.

She took a step back, wondering when she had given up on thinking her actions through. She had been lucky that it was Kyle and not someone aggressive that she had found. She probably would've been shot if she had meet either of those girls that she'd seen in the town the night Aaron got injured. Then would have never seen Ashley again, all the things she had been through would have been for nothing.

Then Kyle said that she could tag along with him. It was weird for him to go back on what he'd said so quickly but Jasmine wasn't surprised. It seemed everyone reacted to the Program a different way, with Kyle it seemed to have made him indifferent to what other people did; as long as they didn't attack or threaten him of course. That or he'd just seen and been involved in so much that he'd stopped caring.

She heard someone else move through the treeline and saw a figure moving behind Kyle. Her eyes widened and she was about to say something to Kyle when the person greeted him. Jasmine relaxed the greeting was far too friendly to be someone who intended to harm either of them. As the person got closer Jasmine recognised them, it was Carlyle, not someone Jasmine spoke to often but he was easy to identify thanks to his height and hair. He was called 'the hippy' by some people at Patriot High and that coupled with the way he looked was what helped her recognise him. Although she thought it was probably best she didn't actually call him hippy at any point. Just in case it annoyed him.

He knew her name as well and greeted her when he got close enough. She mustered up a small smile but she knew it must have looked forced, fake even. She straightened up when he said that they'd been looking for her. In part because someone had actually been looking for her and partly because he had almost said Amanda. Ever since Aaron had been injured Jasmine hadn't paid any attention to what had happened to Amanda and she'd stopped paying attention to the announcements to see if she'd turned up in them. She felt so selfish and guilty that she had just forgotten about the last member of their group, forgotten she'd even existed. She didn't know what had happened to Amanda because she'd become so blinded by her obsession to find her friends and all that had done in the end was get Aaron killed.

She asked the question even though she dreaded the answer.

"Why were you looking for me?"
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As is on cue, Carlyle spoke up, having caught up. He stopped suddendly though, when he recognized the girl. This was Jasmine, one of the people they were looking for. Carlyle weakly implied they had been looking for her without mentioning Amanda. Jasmine either didn't pick up on the implication or else didn't care. She asked why they were looking for her.

Kyle looked at her, then at Carlyle, then at Jasmine again. He couldn't believe he wouldn't just say it. Kyle did not see this as the time for polite avoidance of unpleasant topics.

"It was a favor for Amanda. I'm sorry, but we didn't find you in time for her to see you." He sighed heavily. "My condolences. She needed to see you and we failed to help her do so."

He shook his head.

"We failed like with everyone else."

He stood with his eyes closed in thought for a moment.

"Whatever you choose to do from here on out, with us or not, I understand. But I just can't promise you I won't fail you if you do come with us. I hope you can understand that about me."

"And I hope you can forgive us for losing your friend."

He hated himself. He hated this place. He hated... no he couldn't.

But he did. Right now, he hated America. He hated his own nation. Patriotism be damned. Right now he needed to hate it.
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Jasmine smiled as soon as Carlyle drew near. It was good to see another friendly face around here. Dylan had been fairly passive, and relatively harmless, but there had been a horrible sense of unease between her and the rest of the group. And as for Damien... well, it was good to see Jasmine. Even though her smile looked a little forced, she was clearly not going to be antagonistic. Carlyle doubted anybody still walking around was lacking in regrets or repressed memories.

Then Jasmine asked the million dollar question; why had they been looking for her? It was a simple question, with a fairly simple answer; because Amanda had asked them to. But they couldn’t just leave it at that. Carlyle guessed now was the time to tell Jasmine about what had happened. It was going to have to happen sooner or later, and Carlyle’s earlier hesitation in mentioning Amanda’s name had just been delaying the inevitable.

Kyle looked at the two people in front of him, before taking it upon himself to answer Jasmine. Carlyle let out a heavy sigh, and looked down at the ground. He stayed still, until Kyle said that they had failed, like with everyone else. At that Carlyle slowly looked up at him. He tried to argue against his point. Images of Gwen, of Josie, of Louisa flooded into his mind, and Carlyle’s gaze fell to the ground again.

Carlyle blinked a couple of times once Kyle had finished speaking. What Kyle had said had stood for both of them. Carlyle wouldn’t have blamed Jasmine for hating the two of them. They had been the last to see Amanda alive, after all, aside from Damien, and they were the nearest and most convenient people around. Carlyle felt as if he should say something. Then again, he had no idea whether his last speech had truly had the desired effect, and he didn’t want to make things worse...

“It was Damien.” Carlyle muttered, the words leaving his mouth before he had a chance to think. “We... we couldn’t do anything, we tried so hard, but... he just... I... I’m sorry...” The flow of words dried up almost as quickly as it had started. Carlyle had said the only things in his head. Now it was time to see the repercussions of them, if any.
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And there is was confirmation that Amanda was dead, killed by Damien, the boy who shared her surname. Confirmation that Jasmine had indeed failed in keeping any of her group alive, the only ones left were her and Ashley. There was nothing left to say. Amanda had died looking for her. Just like Aaron had died during their search. All they had accomplished since they split up was die, and they'd split up what, three days ago? They had achieved nothing.

In a way it summed up the whole of the Program. It had no point; the government achieved nothing by having them fight to the death. It was just a scare tactic to keep people in line. Her parents had been fine with it, of course they had, they'd filled her head with lies about how every minority was a criminal and every true American was a hero who'd never hurt another true American.

It seemed so obvious and laughable now, but she'd fallen for it and been brainwashed into thinking it and look at her. All alone separated from her only living friend, all of the others having died during the course of the Program. Even people she had become friends with during the Program had died and for what? So that everyone could get reminded how great America was?

She was ashamed with herself for going along with the lie for so long. But in the end Aaron and that boy had both been killed by the same person. Despite everything she had ever been told they both bled the same and died the same. Nothing else about them had made any difference.

She looked at Kyle and Carlyle. At least Amanda had met up with a group that had cared about her and at least she hadn't died alone. She could be grateful for that at least.

"Thanks anyway." She said before turning and walking back the way she had come and out of the clearing. Amanda was dead and that just left her and Ashley, meaning finding Ashley was now the most important thing bar none.

If she could just see Ash one more time everything else would have been worth it.

((Jasmine Stone continued in Whatever Happened to the American Dream?...))
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Jasmine thanked them for the information, then turned and left. Kyle felt a twinge of guilt seeing her go. What if she met her end all alone out there? Maybe they should go with her, shouldn't they?

He decided against it. She needed the time alone, he guessed. And so did he and Carlyle.

He turned to face his friend. Kyle had a heavy look of depression on his face, but he tried his best to at least have a calm smile. "I guess its time to plan then. We need to find Louisa, and we need to hole up somewhere we know we can make it."

He knelt dow, opened his pack and took out the remains of his rations. He also took out his map.

"We need to try and think like Adams. I know that's not something you might want to hear right now, but we need to. He decides the dangerzones and thus we need to anticipate what might be the next ones. From those predictions we can find the most defensible locations, as well as Louisa's most probNable next move."

He studied the map intensely. "There has to be some way to make it to the end of this nightmare. Somehow we'll find it. If that's the only thing we don't fail in, then please let it be our survival."

"Now more than ever, we need to push forward. It hurts, and it tears at my very soul to have to put aside helping those who need us now. But we have to live. WE MUST LIVE. We can't stop here. Not now. Or else it'll have been all for nothing. So I'll push through the pain in my soul. Live a little longer. I can rest when I'm dead."
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With a few words of thanks and a quick glance at the pair, Jasmine made her way out of the clearing. Carlyle looked across at Kyle to see whether he was going to say anything, possibly to stop her from going off on her own. Kyle didn’t look like he was going to do anything, however, and by the time Carlyle looked back at the space Jasmine had been standing in, she was long gone. Part of Carlyle, an unbearably large part, wanted to just run off after Jasmine and make sure she was going to be okay. But he couldn’t just leave Kyle on his own like that, not after everything that they’d already been through. Jasmine seemed to have a level head on her shoulders. Carlyle could only hope they’d see her again in one piece.

Carlyle let his gaze linger over the spot Jasmine had been at before turning to look at Kyle. Despite the fact that Kyle had taken Amanda’s death, and everything that had gone on beforehand, the harder of the two, the guy still managed to force a smile onto his face. It was the little things like that, the small efforts, which showed Carlyle that his friend still had the will to carry on and survive this whole thing. For his part, Carlyle nodded at Kyle, a small smile forming on his own face.

Kyle then knelt down, taking his rations as well as his map from his bag. The latter of these he rolled out, studying intensely. As he did so, he muttered something about anticipating the danger zones locations, and using them to help find Louisa. And alongside that, having to think like the General. Carlyle tilted his head and looked at Kyle, a slightly concerned look on his face. He didn’t think the guy could see him, but that didn’t matter. This was all very... thorough. Nothing at all like what they’d done before. Carlyle had to admit, he was a little taken aback by it, as well as Kyle’s “thinking like Adams” thing.

But Kyle was right. They needed to survive. They had to take the most secure and most productive decisions in order to do that, and if taking Adams’ mindset to his own was the only way Carlyle was getting out alive? Then so be it. Maybe if they’d planned like this earlier... No. No, he couldn’t afford to think like that anymore. Forget all about his past mistakes and might-have-beens. Now was the time to focus on the future and nothing else.

“Right then. Um...” Carlyle scratched his head, thinking of some meaningful way to contribute. “Right, uh, can you, like, remember any of the previous DZs? Cos I’m guessin’ Adams’ is gonna choose places he hasn’t picked before, for the new areas.” Carlyle paused, mind racing, trying to think back through days of sleep deprivation and uncertainty.

“The, uh, Stone Circle, Cabin, Ruins and, uhhh... Stream, they’re the DZs right now, right? An’ I’m pretty sure here and the rest of the woods were at some point. ‘S there, like, any place else? Where’s that leave us?”
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"As I recall, the Ruin, the Cabin, the Shack, and the Stone Circle have been dangerzones twice each. I imagine that they want us to stay away from those areas from now on."

He studied the map again. "I remember this clearing was a dangerzone as well last time. Not just the forest."

Something clicked in his head.

"We're being herded in. The Town hasn't been a dangerzone, and neither have the Mountain or the Slope, I think. With us hitting the halfway point of the Program they will probably want us all together for the endgame. What better place than the town?"

He shook his head. That was it, there would be the final showdown. So all that was left was to try and figure out the dangerzones till then.

That would certainly be fun.

He chuckled. Then burst out laughing.

"So the one place I thought wasn't safe or defensible was the safest place to be anyway. And now it's too late for that. It'll be our grave instead. With all the killers with guns around there's no way to be safe in such a place."

He laughed again.

"How are we supposed to survive now?"
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Although Carlyle had provided a few thoughts as to where the next Danger Zones would be, he had to admit, he was kinda relying on Kyle to do most of the initial thinking here. Carlyle felt as though he could get a good idea of what to do and where to go after a bit of thinking. It was the getting there that was the hard part. The bringing up of memories, memories of danger zones. Memories which, were in turn, linked to memories of the announcements. Things he didn’t want at the forefront of his mind right now.

Somehow, Kyle was able to remember not only the danger zone locations, but also the number of times each had been a DZ. It was pretty impressive, the way he managed to recall everything. Very useful. It seemed that the four areas Kyle listed were basically no-goes, in terms of giving them the best chance of survival. As well as that, Carlyle guessed they’d have to leave the forest any time now. He didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of it again during an announcement. It had been way too close last time.

But now where did they go? There were surely only a few places they hadn’t listed yet, if they were the areas they were planning to go to. Carlyle pressed his fingers against his head and screwed his eyes shut to try and think to the best of his ability.

As soon as Kyle spoke again, Carlyle’s eyes opened, and he looked at the other boy. Only three or so areas left, apparently. Three areas they were being “herded” towards. Kyle’s wording drew the imagery of sheep. Carlyle preferred the image of animals being driven away by a wildfire. Or in this case, driven towards something, by the threat of sudden explosions. Whatever way, it meant that sooner or later, they were going to make it back to the town. Back to the very beginning, back where Carlyle had woken up. Everything would end where this whole nightmare had began, if Kyle was correct.

Carlyle was busy thinking about whether they should make their move, and whether to head to the town first, or one of the other two locations Kyle had mentioned, when he was broken out of his thoughts again, this time by Kyle laughing. Carlyle looked at him, concerned. Concern that only grew the more Kyle spoke. The guy seemed to have almost... given up. After all this planning, and everything they had gone through, he was ready to give up now, just because he’d heard the town was the only place left, and it was going to ruin his plans, an-

No. No, it wasn’t that. Carlyle mentally slapped himself. Most likely, it was everything they’d gone through that had done this. Everything that they’d done and suffered through was just building up on them. This latest piece of news was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Carlyle needed to say something now, pretty much anything. No matter how his last two speeches had gone.

“We, uh... We need to snap outta that attitude for one, dude.” Carlyle said, trying to inject some sense of force into his voice. He wasn’t sure if he was successful or not. “We know what we’re doin’, right? We’ve got a plan now, yeah? Look, nowhere here’s safe. Hell, we though the slope would be safe, didn’t we? An’ that...” Carlyle trailed off, looked down at the ground. After a while, he looked back up at Kyle.

“Look, bro, what I’m tryin’ to say is... Everywhere here is equally dangerous. And we’re still standin’. And that’s how it’s gonna stay. We’ll find Louisa, and... and make it outta here. Alright?”

Carlyle had almost said that he didn’t have a clue how they’d make it out of here, not a clue at all, and especially not all three of them. It didn’t exactly seem like a good morale booster to mention this, though.
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((Shawn Bowe-Crooke continued from Shack Attack.))

Shawn had kept walking through the forest, surrounded by trees in all directions. He kept to a straight path, heading away from the shack. Bailey's bag felt unnaturally heavy on his shoulders, even though shouldering his own bag had been fine.

He was on his own again, but this time he felt even lonelier than before. Even more importantly, he had no allies currently with him.

He'd have to find some.

He came to the edge of a clearing, he'd realized, from the difference in sunlight. It was a gloomy day, but it was still clear enough that he could tell.

Shawn could see two figures in the middle of the clearing. They weren't fighting, and Shawn didn't sense any sort of tension between them. But...

Shawn didn't have a weapon right now. If either of them had a gun, it could quickly be the last thing he'd see.

He stood next to a thick tree. If either of them decided to shoot him, he'd hopefully be able to duck behind it.

"Hey... guys!" he shouted, before lightly tapping the trunk twice with his palm.
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Overwhelming despair was crushing his soul and yet Kyle laughed about his misfortune. He wondered if he had finally snapped and gone crazy. Maybe he had. Who knew?

Carlyle told him to stop talking like he was. Kyle stopped laughing. He grit his teeth. All of Carlyle's words were true. They had made it this far, why give up now? He shook his head. It wasn't that simple anymore. The situation was worse than ever before. There was no way a few words from someone, even a friend like Carlyle would get him out of this depression.

"So we'll be fine huh? I'm not so sure. We made it by blind luck before. What about now!" He rose and yelled out. "Just how the hell are we supposed to survie this because I can't think of a way to—"

A quick shout broke short his complaint. His brain switched gears again.

"Who's there? If you're not here to attack then neither are we. You have nothing to fear from us." He turned to face Carlyle. "Conversation is on hold friend. We deal with this first. Be ready for anything."

He called out to the voice again. "I'm Kyle Williams, and you can trust me. I've made it through this game so far without hurting anyone. And you can trust Carlyle here as well. I vouch for him, and I'd die before I consider him anything less than a good person."

So much for survival if the person was armed and dangerous.
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1. Yeah you, you nefarious ne'er-do-well you.
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Kyle seemed steadfast on holding his previous opinions and not letting go. Frankly, Carlyle couldn’t understand what had inspired this change that seemed to have happened instantly. They’d both managed to make it this far relatively unscathed, with Louisa still to look for and every chance they’d be able to get out of this hellhole. They had gone through a lot, Carlyle knew that. And that was the thing. He’d been there alongside Kyle, throughout the whole thing. Everything that had happened, with Amanda and Gwen, hadn’t broken him. It had been close to doing so, but not quite. It hadn’t made him stronger, God no. He’d just managed to block those thoughts in some way. In time, Carlyle was sure he’d succumb to despair just as badly as Kyle, but now was not that time.

Carlyle opened his mouth to interrupt Kyle, when another voice, coming from the tree line, did it for him. Carlyle recognised the voice, but that meant nothing. He knew pretty much everyone at school, and they were the only people in the valley. Carlyle slowly stood up, one hand on his rifle, keeping it pointed straight down at the ground.

Kyle responded to the voice. At least he was still able to act as if he was okay. That, at the very least, ought to signify some kind of hope, if he was still able to act just like Kyle. Carlyle nodded as Kyle mentioned the conversation was on hold, muttering “Right.”

Kyle continued on with his speech, in an attempt to get the hidden voice to trust them. Carlyle had kinda expected the sort of thing Kyle would say at first. He had not expected the stuff Kyle mentioned about him. Carlyle was a little taken aback, but he’d have been lying if he said it wasn’t appreciated. A small, grateful smile appeared on Carlyle’s face.

“Look, bro, just so we’re totally open with each other here.” Carlyle called out after Kyle had finished. ”I’ve got a weapon on me, a rifle. It’s pointin’ right at the ground, though, so you don’t have to worry about that. I...” Carlyle paused, and sighed slightly.

“Look, I understand you’re probably suspicious of me, and hell, I understand that. But you can trust Kyle, and anything he says. He’s not done a thing wrong, and he’s not going to.”
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